Outer Hebrides and the Shiants – 9 night cruise
|Availability||Sat 28th April to Mon 7th May||1 place ( male sharing a twin cabin)
A cruise designed to discover some of the more remote Hebridean islands without the sometimes arduous trek out to St Kilda. See the Shiants and the beautiful west coast islands of the Western Isles. Daily walks, large numbers of birds and likelihood of cetaceans.
The itinerary is dependent on weather – balancing shelter with reaching our preferred destinations – but may include, for example, some of the following destinations: Mull, the Small Isles (Rum, Canna, Eigg and Muck), Skye, Coll and Tiree in the Inner Hebrides. In the Outer Hebrides possibilities include Eriskay, Barra Head, Mingulay, Vatersay, Taransay, Scarp and the Monach Islands, etc. We will aim to land on The Shiants and explore these wonderful islands with their large seabird colonies and interesting archaeological remains. This cruise will not visit St Kilda.
On the final day we will return to Oban having breakfast there before your departure on Monday 7 May.
Wildlife highlights we’ve enjoyed on previous cruises:
Cetacean encounters most commonly with Minke, Humpback’s are a less frequent visitor, occasional sightings of Fin and Sperm whale – the Hebrides have a resident Pod of Orca and the area is occasionally visited by an Icelandic pod – frequent encounters with Common, Bottlenose & Whitebeak dolphins, Risso & Whitesided dolphins are also occasionally sighted – Basking sharks have been scarce the last few years but are still seen and seem to be returning, we know the hot spots!
Birds of prey like Buzzards & Kestrel are widespread, with Sparrowhawk and Peregrine needing more patience & luck is needed to see the diminutive Merlin – Black Guillemots (known as Tysties) in their striking plumage – Rasping Corncrake heard and sometimes seen if we’re lucky, in Flag Iris beds or traditional hay meadows – Smart Dippers & Grey Wagtails bobbing along stream sides – Strikingly plumaged Red & Black-throated Divers on sealochs, with Great Northern Divers in spring in their velvety summer finery – Responsible viewing of Golden & Sea Eagles as they afford privileged views on their territories, hunting for prey to feed their chicks in spring, with sightings of fledged young ending the season – Charming Eider Duck creches of ducklings – Fulmars with their highly effective & pungent nest defence – Gannets plunge diving for food – Hooded Crows, strikingly different from their southern cousins – Haunting calls of breeding waders on the Machair, meadows & moorlands, with significant numbers of Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Redshank, Ringed & Golden Plover, Oystercatcher & Lapwing – Spectacular wing-clapping displays of Raptors like ghostly Short-eared Owls & sky-dancing Hen Harriers over their moorland breeding grounds – Kittiwakes calling their names at breeding colonies or roaming the Minch on feeding sorties – Storm Petrels, regular as we cross the Minch – Rum’s massive Manx Shearwater colonies allows incredible views as they raft offshore around the Small Isles or shear the waves in feeding parties – Incredible acrobatic Ravens giving everything else in the sky a flying lesson – The overwhelming sight, sound & smell of seabird colonies with their breeding Puffins, Guillemots & Razorbills – Skuas, both Arctic & Bonxies, vigorously protect their young on islands or shadow the ship – scattered colonies of sensitive breeding Arctic & Common Terns – Sessile oakwoods shelter significant numbers breeding Redstart, Wood Warbler & Spotted Flycatchers during the spring and summer.
Please Note: The above map indicates an area within which we are likely to travel. Weather and the interests and abilities of guests influence the skipper’s final decision. Sightings and findings are examples from previous similar cruises; the list is neither exhaustive nor guaranteed.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first signs of habitation on Hirta (the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago and the only one you can really land on) are thought to have occurred c. 600 AD.